In this regenerative technology-focused episode, Tom Chi discusses a wide range of massively scalable solutions designed to regenerate ecosystems and transform our world. His fund, At One Ventures, has invested in several potentially game changing companies, including: Iron Ox (robotic agriculture), Dendra Systems (drone tree planting), Treau (advanced air conditioning), Cruze Foam (biodegradable styrofoam and polyeurethane alternatives), Climax Foods (providing the “Rosetta Stone” for plant-based meat alternatives), Wild Earth (sustainable pet products), Apis Core (3D-printed, low-carbon geopolymer cement/robotic masonry), Finless Foods (Sashimi-grade sea food alternatives), and Semtive (advanced wind generators), and Precision AI (drone crop/weed analysis).
Tom is as much a philosophical humanist with a deep commitment to the ethics of non-violence, stewardship, and kindness, as he is a brilliant technologist and shrewd capitalist. Interviewed from his home-office in San Francisco following devastating wild fires and the post-apocalyptic visuals of dark orange skies at mid-day, Tom shares his idea of “charging our trauma batteries,” and looks to previous generations for examples of intrepid resilience. With a global perspective, he advocates “letting nature rest.” He also speaks to the “trifercation” of global agriculture: subsistence farming on small plots, mono-cropping on 1,000+ acre plots, and specialty cropping on 10-2,000 acre farms – and that different strategies are needed to transform each for better ecological stewardship and humanitarian outcomes.
Tom Chi has worked in a wide range of roles from astrophysical researcher to designer to corporate executive developing new hardware/software products and services. He has played a significant role in established projects with global reach (Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Search, Google), and scaled new projects from conception to significance (Yahoo Answers from 0 to 90 million users). Tom has pioneered and practiced a unique approach to rapid prototyping, visioning, and leadership that can jump start innovative new ideas as well as move organizations at unprecedented speeds. These approaches have benefitted both industry-leading multinationals and startups alike. He was a founding team member of Google X developing technology such as Google Glass and Google’s self-driving cars. Through his investment work he was able to establish and elaborate a thesis on how humanity can become a net positive force through the emergence of environmentally regenerative technology as well as radically disrupting “nature-negative” industries. This has allowed him to combine two areas of longtime focus – developing breakthrough technology while addressing global issues. Tom brings a fundamentals-driven (both physics and financial) approach to investment and is deeply passionate about supporting entrepreneurs, building relationships, and helping to realize a future that brings humanity and nature back into vibrant harmony.